In my last essay I talked about how an alliance of Western countries, including Canada, was coming together to fight ISIS or the Islamic State, a jihadist terrorist organization that has seized a large chunk of territory in Iraq and Syria, declared itself a caliphate, and has been kidnapping young women, committing ethnic cleansing against groups like the Yazidis, beheading Western journalists and behaving atrociously in general. I talked about how the rise of ISIS was made possible by the folly of the current American President and his predecessor. The governments of Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad, while despicable in many respects, were capable of keeping jihadist groups like the one that became ISIS in check. In their confidence in the ability of liberal democracy to create a new and better world, George W. Bush removed Hussein and Barack H. Obama threw his support behind the rebels seeking to oust Assad. I talked about how the war against ISIS was being fought on behalf of an unworthy cause, of liberalism, the disease that is killing Western civilization from the inside out, rather than Christianity, the faith which resisted Islam’s onslaught on the Western world from the Battle of Tours to the Gates of Vienna. I also talked about how the Bush doctrine of taking the fight to the terrorists, i.e., waging wars overseas to wipe them out before they can attack us at home is the mirror image of what we ought to be doing. We should be trying to keep jihadists out of Western countries so that we do not need to waste Western lives and Western money waging war overseas. Dr. Srdja Trifkovic has said that “The victory will come not by conquering Mecca for America, but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America” (1) and if we substitute “Western civilization” for “America” I think that is about right.
Within days of having completed this essay another aspect of the problem presented itself.
On Monday, October 20th, a young man named Martin Couture-Rouleau ran down a couple of Canadian soldiers with his Nissan Altima inthe Quebec city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. One of these, a fifty-three year old Warrant Officer named Patrice Vincent, died from the injuries the next day. After the attack Couture-Rouleau called 911 to boast of what he had done “in the name of Allah”, then took off in his vehicle with the police in hot pursuit and ran into a ditch, escaped his vehicle, attacked the cops with a knife, and was shot down dead. He had converted to Islam last year, renamed himself Ahmad LeConverti, and had his passport confiscated because he wished to go overseas to join ISIS.
Two days later, another young man named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, went to the National War Memorial in Ottawa and shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, one of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, from behind with a rifle. He then fled the scene of the murder, arrived at Parliament Hill, jacked a vehicle which he drove to the Peace Tower, entered the Parliamentary buildings and engaged the House of Commons security forces in a gun fight in the Hall of Honour before being taken down by Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers. Zehaf-Bibeau had converted to Islam ten years ago.
These incidents, which were apparently unrelated, present another aspect to the problem in that the perpetrators here were home-grown. Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau were Canadians, and not just in the same sense that Omar Khadr, who had been born in Toronto, to a family that raised him in Peshawar, Pakistan and Jalalabad, Afghanistan is a “Canadian”. They were both born and raised in Canada, to Canadian families, and were brought up in mainstream Canadian culture. Their conversion to Islam was one side of a coin, the other side of which was a rejection of the society into which they had been born and its culture.
Now clearly a strategy that focuses on keeping jihadists out of the country with a sensible immigration policy and strong border security cannot prevent attacks from homegrown terrorists who have rejected the country, society, and culture into which they were born and have by choice embraced the culture of jihad. Indeed, a preventative strategy against this sort of attack is likely to prove elusive. Measures like tightening up security in places that are at high risk of being targeted and increasing domestic surveillance can only do so much and come with a heavy cost in terms of freedom lost. We have only just now, in the last few years, began to recover the freedom that was stolen from us by the father of the present leader of the Liberal Party back in the 1970s and can scarcely afford to lose any more.
Speaking of Trudeau père, it was he who in 1971 declared Canada to be officially multicultural. This is a huge part of the problem we are dealing with. Multicultural, as Trudeau used the term, means something more than mere cultural plurality. Culturally, a society can be either homogenous or plural. There are different kinds of homogeneity and plurality. The city-states of ancient Greece or Renaissance Italy had one type of cultural homogeneity, the nation-states of post-Renaissance Europe had another. The Roman Empire, in which a multitude of local cultures were tolerated so long as they recognized the supremacy of Rome was a different kind of cultural plurality from that which came about in Britain when the king of Presbyterian Scotland inherited the throne of Anglican England.
Canada has always been a culturally plural country. In the original Confederation of 1867 there were four provinces, three of which were primarily English and Protestant, one of which was French and Roman Catholic. The plurality, the Fathers of Confederation had in mind for the country they established, was a plurality along the lines of that which then existed in Austria-Hungary in which culturally distinct nations were joined by a common loyalty to a Christian royal House. This is not the kind of plurality Trudeau had in mind when he declared Canada to be multicultural.
Trudeau’s multiculturalism is a pluralism based upon the idea of equality – that all cultures are equal. This is not the same thing as saying that under the Crown all citizens have the same rights and are subject to the same laws regardless of their culture. The latter idea is not culturally neutral but is distinctive of certain cultures and not present in others. If all cultures are equal then a culture that contains this idea is no better for doing so than a culture that does not and the opposite of this concept is equally valid. The only way in which all cultures could be equal would be if all cultures were equally worthless. Multiculturalism or cultural egalitarianism is cultural nihilism.
This applies to religion, which T. S. Eliot rightly said was the heart and centre of culture, as well. Religions do not all teach the same thing. Therefore, the only way in which all religions could be equal would be if they were all wrong. This would seem to be exactly what many progressives think or at least assume, even if they are unwilling to admit it. This assumption could only have developed in the vacuum created by the loss of faith in the religion that has been at heart of Western culture and civilization for almost two millennia. Perhaps that vacuum might help explain how two young men, born and raised in the Western country of Canada, could so reject their country, its culture,and the larger civilization to which it belongs as to embrace, in a zealous and violent way, the religion that has sought to conquer that civilization by force since the seventh century. If Trudeau fils is still looking for "root causes" of jihadist violence that is one he might consider.
(1) In Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terror May Yet Be Won In Spite of Ourselves, (Boston: Regina Orthodox Press, 2006).
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